Kids Have Alternative to Dental Anesthesia

Sedation method avoids risk, and children feel no pain

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FRIDAY, Sept. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An alternative sedation method for major dental procedures may help patients avoid potentially risky general anesthesia and relieve pressure on hospitals, says a British study in the September issue of Anaesthesia.

The study found that giving dental patients a combination of a sedative called midazolam, a measured amount of two gases, and normal local dental anesthetic was a viable alternative to general anesthetic (GA).

Researchers at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne conducted clinical trials on more than 600 children with extreme dental problems who would usually require a general anesthetic in a hospital. This new sedation method was successful in 93 percent of the cases, the study found.

The children felt no pain under sedation. Even though they remained conscious during their dental treatment, they did not remember the treatment after it was completed. Because this method can be used in a dentist's chair, it can help reduce hospital waiting lists and free up beds.

"Dentists are often suspicious about procedures that involve sedating children with intravenous agents like midazolam. However, we showed that it worked very effectively when combined with inhalation agents and we saw no adverse reactions," researcher Dr. Paul Averley said in a prepared statement.

"The children were treated by a highly trained team, which included a consultant anesthetist, and they also had the benefit of shorter waiting times and treatment in familiar surroundings," Averley said.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dental anesthetics.

SOURCE: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, new release, Sept. 1, 2004

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